Arlecchino Newsletter

Vol. 3 Issue n. 12
July 15, 2001

~~~      A free bi-weekly newsletter of 275 subscribers
~~~      on the discussion of topics related to
~~~      the made-in-Italy products, to the Italian way of life
~~~      and more generally to the Italian style.
~~~      supported by Studiosoft at
~~~      Marco Piazzalunga, Publisher
~~~      Vol. 3, issue #12, July 15, 2001

                    IN THIS ISSUE

New Topics on Fine Arts in Italy/Europe (2)

1) Futurismo in Rome, 400 works on display
     by ENIT

2) Caravaggio and the Genius of Rome
     by Stan Getz

New Topics on Italian style (2)

1) The 58th Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica di Venezia
     by Alberto Barbera

2) Enchanted Realm of Upper Lake Garda
     by David Leibowitz

New Topics on Italian handicraft works of art (2)

1) Selling Crafts in Today's Economy
     by Carmelo Lizzio

2) A Piece of Sicily
     by Maurizio Romano

New Topics on Italian/European antique & collectibles (2)

1) Sotheby’s and Christie’s Part I Impressionist and Modern sales
     by Atg

2) Taking care of your glass
     by Concetto Fusillo

-----====(* FINE ARTS IN ITALY & EUROPE *)====-----

Subject: Futurismo in Rome, 400 works on display.

ROME, July 03, 2001 - It will be the largest exhibit on Futurism ever staged in Italy. Four hundred works will be on display from July 7 to October 22, at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome.
The display, 'Futurismo 1909-1944', will include paintings, graphic art, architectural plans, furnishings, sketches and photographs. The event aims to illustrate the birth and development of the artistic movement until the death of Marinetti, the undisputed leader of Futurism.
It has been a good 20 years since Futurism has been at the center of a major event in Italy. After a show in Turin and another in Venice 6 years later, the only displays have been partial or minor initiatives.
The four sections of the exhibit will cover work that preceded the birth of Futurism, such as pieces by Balla, Boccioni, Carra' and Severini; works that represent the evolution of the movement; pieces of so-called 'mechanical art'; and various art forms that incorporated Futurism, such as architectural plans, advertising and sketches by such artists as Balla and clothing designer Laura Biagiotti.



Subject: Caravaggio and the Genius of Rome

ROME, July, 05, 2001 - Palazzo Venezia, Rome, until July 31, Exhibition - "Caravaggio and the genius of Rome. 1592 - 1623". Entrance: Palazzo di Venezia, Via del Plebiscito, 118.
"The Holy Family with St. John", which is perhaps the only painting among the known works of Caravaggio not to have been exhibited to date, can be admired in the exhibition currently being held at Palazzo Venezia in Rome.
In addition to this splendid masterpiece, another 18 masterpieces by this great artist can be admired among the 170 works on display which come from all corners of the world. Among these, there is also "The Conversion of Saul" which belongs to the private Odescalchi Collection and which is hardly ever exhibited.
The exhibition comes to Rome after the exceptional success it had at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. For this version of the exhibition, around 80 paintings have been added in order to offer a more complete panorama of the artistic situation in Rome at that time. The paintings have been added in order to highlight the artistic figures who were the protagonists of Roman creativity from 1592 to 1623.
The exhibition begins with the first of the four Roman "schools", Caravaggio's school and we can see a series of undeniable masterpieces, among them "The Boy Bitten by the Green Lizard" from the National Gallery in London, "Judith" and "Narcissus" from Palazzo Barberini, "St. John" from the Corsini Gallery and the first version of "The Fall of Saul".
Some of the most important works of great artists like Manfredi, Ribera, Cecca del Caravaggio, Spadarino and Carlo Saraceni are on display alongside Caravaggio's masterpieces.
Do not miss "The Visitation" by Bartolomeo Cavarozzi which is on loan from Viterbo.
The second school which is Carracci's school includes the altarpiece from the Church of San Onofrio and paintings by Reni -"St. Cecilia"-, Albani -"The Rape of Europe" - and Domenichino - "St. Agnes", the latter being extremely similar to "The Virgin with the Unicorn" found in the Farnese vault.
Whoever visits this part of the exhibition will find himself face to face with many "new" works: two masterpieces by Lanfranco, two works by Sisto Badalocchio and a painting by Guercino showing "St. Jerome signing a letter" which was discovered recently in the storerooms of the National Gallery of Palazzo Barberini.
The third school is the school of Giuseppe Cesari, known as the "Cavalier d'Arpino", prince of the reform of late mannerism and Clement VIII's favourite painter of whose studio was also frequented by the young Caravaggio.
The exhibition contains a series of works by the "Cavalier d'Arpino" from different periods which give an overall view of his many-sided artistic activity.
The fourth school groups together a large number of artists under a rather curious heading: " (painters) who have worked in a new way and without particularly following in the footsteps of anyone". The ample group of Tuscan painters who played a very important role in the Roman art scene from the last decade of the 1500's through to the 1620's feature in this part of the exhibition.

Stan Getz

-------=======(* ITALIAN STYLE *)=======-------

Subject: The 58th Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica di Venezia

VENICE, July 08, 2001 - The 58th Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica di Venezia directed by Alberto Barbera (Venezia Lido, 29 August - 8 September) will contain a number of significant innovations.
In order to keep track of technical, production and geographical changes of a cinema which is no longer the same as before, the first Mostra del Cinema of the new Millenniun is also changing. As of this year, there will be two main sections, both of them competitive.
Different and complementary in format, these two sections will be accompanied by a workshop section, providing a window to view new technologies and personal experimentation.
The following is a brief summary of the new programme for the Festival:
-Venice 58-
This includes the International Competition for Feature Films and a selection of Out of Competition films. The work of filmmakers with the most accomplished and personal visions, alongside original and innovative examples of 'big entertainment' cinema.
-Cinema of the Present-
A new competition rather than another competition. Cinema as it is today, in its various trends and forms. Debut and fringe films, but also works that relate to current genres and production, with the aim of providing innovation and creative originality. The Jury will be made up of personalities from the world of cinema, each representing a film magazine from a different country.
-New Territories-
A workshop-section. The many forms of contemporary research and experimentation. The multiplication of techniques and formats, the contamination of genres and languages, the exchange between cinema and the other arts, as well as the persistence of a 'high' artistic tradition that challenges new technologies.
There are also changes in the prizes and awards. A total of three Lions will be awarded by three different juries. One Golden Lion for the Best Film in the -Venice 58- competition; one Lion of the Year for the best film in the -Cinema of the Present- competition (accompanied by a cheque for 100,000 dollars) and one Lion of the Future to be awarded to the winner of the 'Luigi De Laurentiis - Venice First Film' competition (accompanied by a 100,000 dollar prize offered by Filmauro and 20,000 metres of film offered by Kodak).

Alberto Barbera


Subject: Enchanted Realm of Upper Lake Garda

VERONA Italy, July 12, 2001 - High above the shimmering waters of Lake Garda lies a remarkable protected mountain wilderness and rural community. The Comunità Montana Alto Garda Bresciano owes its dramatic position to the massive glacier that carved out the region some 15,000 years ago. Peaks of over 2,000 m rise spectacularly from the lake surface, protecting the great body of water from the brunt of winter storms and lending it a mild, semi-Mediterranean climate. Palm trees and olive groves are in evidence along the shore, as are lemon trees, which were first cultivated here in the 15th century. Above the coastal zone lies a steeply sloped forest, dominated by chestnut and beech trees except where cleared to make way for a farm or terraced village. Higher than 1,300 m the climate takes a turn toward the alpine, with tundra-like crests covered with snow or carpeted with flowers depending on the season. The rugged, limestone mountains have been strikingly carved over the centuries, much like the neighboring Dolomites, and there are many natural caves and tunnels cut through the rock.
The Alto Garda Bresciano bears a few scars underneath its seemingly ideal natural atmosphere. The lakeside town of Salò was the center of Mussolini's last-stand republic, while the rough, eerie terrain above Limone sul Garda was a theater of action during the First World War. Those exploring the region will see reminders of this troubled past, whether passing by a ruined fort, blast holes on the side of the road, or a war cemetery. The Lake Garda region witnessed uprisings and battles during the years leading up to the unification of the Italian State (1861), after which by treaty Austria held on to the Trentino and the South Tyrol regions, much to the chagrin of many Italian patriots. Great popular appeal to unite these lands with Italy plunged the new state into the fray of WWI in 1915. Fierce fighting ensued over ridiculously treacherous terrain from the mountains above Lake Garda to the Dolomites and Carnian Alps; blows were exchanged over dangerous mountain crests and even glaciers. In the end a generation was destroyed fighting for a land that should have been enjoyed peacefully.
The past continues to haunt, but thankfully the past fifty odd years have been peaceful. Wind-surfers flock to take advantage of the lake's renowned wind, as do sun seekers from northern Europe looking to relax in one of the several charming lakeside towns. Not nearly as many visitors venture into the mountain villages, however, where rustic life continues much as it has over the centuries. Visitors have boosted the economy of the Alto Garda Bresciano, as biking, hiking and fishing have become popular activities, though as in other remote regions the local youth must look elsewhere for higher education and to the cities for employment outside of agriculture or tourism.

David Leibowitz

------=====(* ITALIAN HANDICRAFT WORKS OF ART *)=====------

Subject: Selling Crafts in Today's Economy

BERGAMO Italy, July 11, 2001 - Selling hand-made items in today's economy is much different than it was in the "good old days" 10 - 20 years ago! Gone are the days when you could ensure profitability by simply attending a craft show. In our current climate, buyers want things fast and cheap! Neither of these conditions come to mind when thinking of crafts.
But wait! All is not lost. When there is change, the survivors are the ones who learn to adapt. Believe it or not, there are qualities that small businesses in the hand-made industry have that can enable them to not only survive, but also to thrive in the present buying atmosphere.
Are your products of higher quality than the mass-produced, cheap imitations that line the shelves of the big retail stores? You bet! But simply creating a quality product does not guarantee that a consumer will notice. Tell your customers what is different about your work. Point out the superior workmanship whenever you can.
An often overlooked attribute that small businesses have is the ability to change at lightning speed! Large, bloated businesses cannot match the small business person's speed or effectiveness to change.
Is an old show circuit not bringing in the profit that it used to? Then try new shows in areas you haven't been to! Do you have a Web site? Why not?
Don't be afraid to try new avenues for your business. If something is not working, try new paths. The point is that small businesses can run circles around big businesses because of their ability to change quickly. Take advantage of this ability!
No matter how hard they might try, huge businesses cannot guarantee that every employee will treat their customers as they should be treated. Small business owners have much more control over customer relationships.
Make it company policy to always greet customers with a smile (no matter how you feel). Answer all inquiries, whether by phone, mail or email, promptly and thoroughly. If someone has a legitimate complaint, do your best to resolve the issue.
Your work can be as unique as you are. One of the greatest tools an artist/crafter has is the ability to produce unique work. While inexpensive, mass-produced items can be created at a very low cost, they are not unique. Create new designs often and let your customers know! Since many large companies simply get ideas for new products from the ideas of small business, we can stay one step ahead by always being innovative. In other words, don't follow trends... set them!

Carmelo Lizzio


Subject: A Piece of Sicily

CALTAGIRONE, Italy, July 8, 2001 - Like any other unique work of art, a ceramic piece begins with an idea. That idea is the vision of an individual artist. Then there's the material. The clay found in each region of the world is unique. Sicilian clay, used in terra cotta earthenware over the millennia, is different from the clay of Mexico or Mongolia because it contains a combination of silicates unique to Sicily. This clay, freshly mined from the Sicilian mountains and valleys, is molded by hand by ceramic masters, and then left to dry under the sun.
The object is then painstakingly painted in ornate motifs with rich glazes before being fired (baked) in a kiln. During this last phase of creation, something miraculous happens. In the heat, the sun-dried clay hardens to become terra cotta and then crystallizes into ceramic. Its molecular structure changes, becoming firmer but also more durable. The glazed enamel also crystallizes, actually binding to the ceramic as it assumes a deeper, more distinct color.
There are, of course, various decorative ceramic products made in Sicily and sold around the world. Bearing whimsical or even gaudy motifs, these products are sometimes signed with an artist's name but actually painted by generic workers, many of whom aren't even Sicilian. Finding ceramic art that reflects Sicily's true artistic heritage isn't always easy. You may have to search for it. Caltagirone, Santo Stefano di Camastra and Monreale are Sicily's most famous ceramic centers.
Ceramic, terra cotta, maiolica, china, porcelain. What do these terms really mean, and how will understanding them help you to choose the ceramic art that's right for you?
The most important factor in making your selection is a matter of purely personal taste --but keep lead content in mind (see note below). Simply a question of what you like and what you think will look good in your home or office --or the home of the special person who receives the unique gift of Sicilian ceramic art. Aesthetics aside, the eclectic world of ceramic art is a fascinating place where artistic dreams become precious family heirlooms.
To many of us, the very word "ceramic" conjures images of plain wall tiles like the ones in our kitchens. The word "ceramics" brings to mind molded clay articles sold in craft shops. While neither perception is actually incorrect, each reflects only a very small facet of the world of ceramics. In its most general sense, "ceramic," from the Greek keramos (potter's clay), describes a vast array of artistic techniques leading to the creation of items fashioned from hardened or baked clay.

Maurizio Romano


Subject: Sotheby’s and Christie’s Part I Impressionist and Modern sales

LONDON, July 02, 2001 - The London art market breathed a general sigh of relief last week after Sotheby’s and Christie’s Part I Impressionist and Modern sales belied the atmosphere of economic uncertainty with a clutch of high prices for classic works by the major names of late 19th and early 20th century art.
Coincidentally, both houses notched up identical totals of £33.4m with healthy lottage selling rates of 75 per cent. However, the overall total of £94.5m achieved by all Sotheby’s and Christie’s Impressionist, Modern and Post-War offerings, including the Part II and Works on Paper sales, was £7.5m down on last year and buying by US collectors was also slightly down.
Christie’s Part I total of £33.4m on June 27 was their highest for an Impressionist and Modern sale in London since 1989, but only 28 per cent of the lots were bought by Americans, who can usually be relied upon to buy between 40-45 per cent of these London Part I sales.
In terms of individual lots, Sotheby’s Claude Monet canvas, Meules, Derniers Rayons de Soleil, was the undoubted star of the week when it sold on Tuesday evening to an anonymous telephone buyer for £9.2m underbid by London dealer Ezra Nahmad in the room. Number 3 in Durand-Ruel’s famous 1891 exhibition of Monet’s ‘Grainstacks’ series, the privately-entered painting had never been offered at auction before and carried an estimate of £5-7m. No fewer than five works exceeded £2m at Sotheby’s with Henry Neville of Mallett the conspicuous buyer of Monet’s Au Parc Monceau and Van Gogh’s Eglogue en Provence Un Couple d’Amoureux at £3.4m and £2.6m apiece.
The previous evening at Christie’s Maurice de Vlaminck’s 1905 canvas Peniche sur la Seine confirmed the current demand for Fauvist painting with a sale-topping £4.3m from London dealer Thomas Gibson, closely followed by the record £4m paid by the Lefevre Gallery for Juan Gris’s 1914 Cubist canvas, Le Guéridon, prices which were both at least double their estimates.
By contrast, demand at Christie’s £4m Post-War sale which immediately followed was much more muted. With quality works by major names in short supply, no lot exceeded £700,000 and the only work to trigger seriously competitive bidding was Eduardo Chilida’s unique 1987 iron sculpture, Besaka, which sold to a European collector for a record £460,000. After the sale senior staff at Christie’s intimated that their policy of presenting Post-War art in a separate catalogue on the same night as the Impressionist and Moderns in London may be up for revision.



Subject: Taking care of your glass

LECCO, Italy, July 14, 2001 - Much of the advice on handling glass is just plain commonsense but it is probably worth repeating because a moment's inattention or carelessness could destroy a beautiful, expensive and irreplaceable object that has survived for many years.
Never just push a glass object to move it, always pick it up and place it where you want it.
Always check that any glass object is one piece only and that a separate lid, base or stopper is not going to fall off - this is particularly important when looking at things in shops because usually breakages must be paid for.
Any glass that has flaking decoration should be only be handled when absolutely necessary.
If glass has been broken and then repaired, always check that the join is still good when picking up the object.
Never pick up glass vessels by the rim. It is preferable to use two hands, one under the object and the other around the side.
Never put antique or collectable glass in a dishwasher because it may get chipped and it may give lead glass a surface bloom which cannot be removed.
Never wash glass that is worn or has flaking painting or gilding, glass that has been repaired or restored or has metal mounts.
Never use window cleaning or other glass cleaning products on antique glass.
Before washing, dust glass objects with a soft artist's paintbrush.
Wash items one at a time, never put several pieces in a washing up bowl or sink together.
Cover taps with a cloth or other soft material to guard against knocks. It is also a good idea to put something soft in the bottom of the sink in case a piece of glass slips through your fingers when wet.
Only use warm water and a few drops of washing up liquid.
Do not scrub or apply pressure on the glass particularly around delicate areas like the rims of bowls or glasses.
Rinse the glass well after washing and stand the objects to dry on a towel or sheets of absorbent kitchen roll. When the excess water has drained off, finish drying and polish with a soft lint-free cloth.
Do not replace stoppers in decanters until both are absolutely dry or the stoppers may become stuck.
If a stopper is stuck in a decanter it may be possible to free it by spraying a thin oil between the stopper and the neck. Leave the decanter in a warm place and allow the oil to penetrate and then gently try to remove the stopper. Do not use force or you will break the neck of the decanter.
If this doesn't work try placing the decanter in the refrigerator for about 24 hours and then try to remove the stopper.
If you have a narrow necked vessel that is discoloured, fill it with water and put in two denture cleaning tablets.
The dried remains in perfume bottles can be cleaned with methylated spirits. Leave the meths in the bottle for about an hour then empty it and rinse. If the perfume residue remains, repeat until it has disappeared. When it is finally removed, wash the perfume bottle as described above for other glass. Again, do not put the stopper in the bottle until both are absolutely dry.
Never ever wash Chinese snuff bottles, always take them to a specialist for cleaning.

Concetto Fusillo

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